Malpractice in executive search


  • Conflict of interest: working for two competitors who unwittingly share confidential information with the unethical search firm. No full disclosure is made by the unethical search firm for fear of losing one or two accounts.

  • Betrayal of Client trust: placing a candidate with Client A and after less than a year, enticing that same candidate to move to another Client B. By recycling a candidate, the search firm is able to make money on the same candidate twice while crippling the organization of Client A.

  • Charging fees without any value-add: unethical search firms send resumes of candidates without screening, without face-to-face interviews and without the benefit of professional assessments and due diligence. The burden of screening and assessing the candidates is conveniently offloaded to the client. In the process, the search firm escapes any accountability while charging largely undeserved fees.

  • Unauthorized distribution of confidential resumes to various companies. This unethical practice has time and again exposed executives who have thought all along that their resumes were safe and treated with strict confidentiality by the unscrupulous search firm. Some careers have been undermined whenever the employers discover their own executives’ “secretive search for greener pastures.”

  • Breach of Confidentiality: this happens when the identity of a client company is divulged notwithstanding the need for strict confidentiality. For sensitive searches where confidentiality is of paramount importance, this practice has often put the client in embarrassing and even legally vulnerable situation.

  • Predatory marketing: this refers to a common practice whereby an unethical search firm learns of an on-going search being conducted by a competitor search firm. The unethical search firm attempts to undermine the ongoing search by making what we call in Tagalog as “sulot”. The search firm does this by “peddling” resumes to the client company even without prior authorization from resume owners.

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